The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are two AFC East teams that are dealing with star players (Jairus Byrd and Randy Starks respectively) on defense who are unhappy with playing through the franchise tag next season, and both of these players are taking opposite stances. Randy Starks isn’t exactly happy with being a veteran playing without long-term security, but the Dolphins are lucky to have Starks not making a stink about his one-year pact (they will have to decide on keeping either Starks or Paul Soliai in the future, and that’s a tough choice between veteran, star DTs that will likely come down to price). Meanwhile, Jairus Byrd is the best free safety in the NFL, and he knows it. The Buffalo Bills star is on a holdout and is not signing his franchise tender, as he would like to be the highest paid safety in the league.
Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd (31) in action against the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bills 21-9. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo News beat writer Tim Graham predicts that Jairus Byrd will sign his franchise tender before Week 1, but he adds that there is more of a chance of Byrd missing games than signing the deal before the end of training camp. That means Graham believes Byrd will sign his deal but drag out the process as much as possible, and I completely agree with Graham. Byrd carries almost no leverage with the Bills, because the team always holds more leverage than the player in these cases. Missing games would clearly not benefit Byrd, because he would lose checks even if he has already established himself as a star FS in this league. However, as Graham later tweets, Byrd does hold some leverage by holding out of training camp, but I doubt that ends up pressuring the Bills.
The deadline for Byrd and the Bills to come to a long-term extension has already passed, and the only thing left for the 26-year-old to do is to sign his franchise tender worth about $6.9 million. That should happen, but it probably won’t happen until the last minute. Byrd wants top safety money, but the Bills were reportedly only willing to pay top five safety money.
All I can say is that as a New England Patriots fan, I hope Jairus Byrd make the stupid move and doesn’t sign his deal until after Week 1, thus causing him to miss the game against the Patriots. Aaron Dobson can use all the help he can get in his debut trying to go deep on the Bills, because he’ll probably have Stephon Gilmore (he is going to be lights out next year) to worry about.